Analysis of Google and its search offerings, both on the Web and for enterprises. Related subjects include:

June 19, 2008

6 trends that could shake up the text analytics market

My last two posts were based on the introductory slide to my talk The Text Analytics Marketplace: Competitive landscape and trends. I’ll now jump straight ahead to the talk’s conclusion.

Text analytics vendors participate in the same trends as other software and technology vendors. For example, relational business intelligence and data warehousing products are increasingly being sold to departmental buyers. Those buyers place particularly high value on ease of installation. And golly gee whiz, both parts of that are also true in text mining.

But beyond such general trends, I’ve identified six developments that I think could radically transform the text analytics market landscape. Indeed, they could invalidate the neat little eight-bucket categorization I laid out in the prior post. Each is highly likely to occur, although in some cases the timing remains greatly in doubt.

These six market-transforming trends are:

  1. Web/enterprise/messaging integration
  2. BI integration
  3. Universal message retention
  4. Portable personal profiles
  5. Electronic health records
  6. Voice command & control

Read more

June 19, 2008

The Text Analytics Marketplace: Competitive landscape and trends

As I see it, there are eight distinct market areas that each depend heavily on linguistic technology. Five are off-shoots of what used to be called “information retrieval”:

1. Web search

2. Public-facing site search

3. Enterprise search and knowledge management

4. Custom publishing

5. Text mining and extraction

Three are more standalone:

6. Spam filtering

7. Voice recognition

8. Machine translation

Read more

May 29, 2008

Google is idiosyncratic about what it displays

I was testing the new blog theme installed on Software Memories, specifically to see whether the title and description in the search engine results reflected the metatag title and description I’d just put in, which are

History of the software industry, its companies and its personalities


History of the software industry by Curt Monash, who’s been in the middle of it since 1981


Well, the answer turns out to be a resounding “Yes and no.” Read more

May 19, 2008

How is YouTube relating videos?

One of the great music videos of all time is Madonna’s Material Girl. With two exceptions, all the “related videos” listed by YouTube are just what one would expect: either other Madonna videos, or other versions of Material Girl. One exception is Cyndi Lauper’s Girls Just Want to Have Fun, while the other is Marilyn Monroe’s Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend. The connection with the Monroe video is particularly strong, with each being #3 on each other’s “Related” list.

And that’s an outstanding result. Material Girl is obviously a direct reference, conceptually and visually, to Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend. So my question is: How does YouTube know that? Are there favorite videos lists on which they co-exist? Did somebody hand-enter the connection? Is it inferred from their comment threads (which I definitely have not paged through)? Or — by far the least likely but most interesting of all — is there some sort of direct visual comparison?

Other than popularity presumably having something to do with it (both videos are, deservedly, very often watched and commented on), I haven’t figured out which it is.

May 8, 2008

Google seems to have rehabilitated us

As previously noted, we were de-indexed by Google, due to the injection of a whole lot of spammy hidden links. We’re back now, after about two weeks, even on the blog (this one) where there was no official de-indexing notice and hence no way to apply for re-consideration. And thus we once again have high rankings for search terms such as Netezza, DATAllegro, Clarabridge, and Attivio.

We’re designing a new blog theme — the current one is just an emergency stopgap — that will (among myriad more important virtues) be more SEO-friendly. I’ll be curious to see whether that makes much actual difference from a search ranking standpoint.

April 25, 2008

Drive-by Google de-listing

As previously noted, we got hit with some hidden text, probably by SQL injection, and that lead to a Google de-listing. Of the three blogs affected by the attack, I got a de-indexing notice for one (DBMS2); another was de-listed without a notice (Text Technologies); and a third seems to have waltzed through still indexed (Software Memories). I also received a de-indexing notice for another site I have nothing to do with and indeed had never heard of before. Go figure …

We’ve now upgraded to WordPress 2.5, which should close the vulnerability. (Thank you Melissa Bradshaw!) Fearing our old, buggy theme would degrade further, we upgraded to a new one, Biru, designed by Bob. There are some teething-pain stability issues, but if they don’t cause a reversion in the next day, I’ll apply to Google for re-inclusion. (Uh, does anybody have some boundaries around how long that’s likely to take?)

All these hours of aggravation because some criminal wanted a bit of SEO advantage …

March 5, 2008

Google could dominate single-site search

Google has begun to introduce a feature whereby, if your search obviously leads you to a single site (e.g., you searched on a company name), you get a second search box to search only within that site. More details at Google and Search Engine Land. Basically, this is Google Site Search made a lot easier to use.

I think this could be a really big deal. Read more

February 3, 2008

19 Microsoft/Yahoo synergies that could revolutionize the Internet

Many – perhaps most — commentators on Microsoft’s bid for Yahoo are thoroughly missing the point. The most interesting part of Microsoft’s bid for Yahoo isn’t the horse-race retrospective “How did they screw up so much as to need each other?” It’s not the incipient bidding war for Yahoo. And it’s certainly not the antitrust implications.

The Microsoft/Yahoo combination could revolutionize the Internet. I’m serious. The opportunities for huge synergies might just be enough to blast the merged companies out of their current uncreative, Innovator’s Dilemma funks. Search is open for radical transformation in user interface, universal search relevancy, Web/enterprise integration, and just about everything to do with advertising and monetization. Email stands to be utterly reinvented. Portals and business intelligence have only scratched the surface of their potential. And social networking is of course in its infancy.

Here’s an overview of where some synergies and opportunities for a combined Microsoft/Yahoo lie. Read more

January 18, 2008

Google is putting more emphasis on phrases

I don’t know how pronounced this trend is, but Google web search seems to be putting more emphasis on phrases than it used to.

For starters, Google doesn’t always ignore stopwords. The Fly and Fly produce different search results. Beyond that, “or” is sometimes assumed to be a word you’re searching on, not an operator — for an example, try live free or die and see the line of text that comes back under the search box. (I’m not sure whether this ever works for “and” as well — even Sanford and Son returns the usual harangue that “the AND operator is unnecessary”.) This is all a pretty clear indicator that Google is looking at phrases. Bill Slawski’s patent-analysis-heavy SEO blog has a lot more to say on that subject, specifically on an indexing scheme that addresses the problems that indexing stopwords in might otherwise cause.

Also, there’s a direct series of patents on “Phrase-Based Indexing.”

Finally, although I don’t recall a link, there seems to be a belief that:

  1. Google is using or moving to Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI)
  2. Word-based LSI is patented by somebody else.
January 14, 2008

An interesting Matt Cutts interview from December

Stephen Spencer has a great interview with Matt Cutts of Google, from last month’s Pubcon. Almost all of it is SEO-related. But it also contains a few tidbits that may be interesting even if one doesn’t care about SEO, such as:

SEO highlights included: Read more

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